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Latest news from TRAFFIC


Coral climate crunch compounds over-harvesting

The impact of climate change on coral reefs will only compund the problems caused by over-harvesting of species like the Humphead Wrasse Click photo to enlarge © Cindy Cheng / WWF-Hong Kong   en Français

Manado, Indonesia, 13 May 2009—Southeast Asia’s coastal environments will lose much of their ability to feed people while the livelihoods of 100 million people will be lost if the world fails to take effective action on climate change and other environmental impacts, warned TRAFFIC’s programme partner, WWF, at the World Oceans Conference today.

But effective global action on climate change and regional attention to problems of over-fishing and pollution would prevent catastrophe, said a WWF-commissioned study.

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Cameroon raids seize a tonne of bushmeat

An arrested poacher in south-east Cameroon with a basket full of wild meat "bushmeat", most of which consists of endangered species. Click photo to enlarge © Ph. Jengi/ WWFCARPO   Yaoundé, Cameroon, 7 May 2009—Enforcement authorities in southeast Cameroon last week seized more than 1,000 kg of illegal bush meat and guns, and arrested 15 wildlife poachers in an unprecedented operation.

A combined unit of soldiers, police and game rangers uncovered more than a tonne of bushmeat, including the remains of protected species: gorillas, chimpanzees and elephants. They also confiscated more than 30 guns from suspected poachers, including high calibre rifles and illegally owned weapons.

“The illicit bushmeat trade is often the most serious long-term threat to great ape populations,” commented Germain Ngandjui, Senior Programme Officer for TRAFFIC in Central Africa.

“The Cameroonian authorities are to be congratulated on these anti-poaching efforts, which will help protect the nation’s severely threatened wildlife.”

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Illegal wildlife trade boarded up at Russian Far East border

Bilingual information boards at Russian Far East border crossings will warn travellers about the regulations and penalties governing illegal wildlife trade Click image to enlarge Vladivostock, Russia, 6 May 2009—Information boards about illegal wildlife products have been put on display at Far Eastern Customs Directorate checkpoints along the Russian-Chinese border as part of a TRAFFIC-WWF initiative in the Russian Far East.

The bilingual boards—in Russian and Chinese—provide travellers with information about the legislation governing the transportation of wildlife products, and were designed with the input of experts from the Vladivostok branch of the Russian Customs Academy, the Russian and Chinese CITES Management Authorities plus TRAFFIC and WWF staff.

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Customs find out what all the stink is about

Malaysian Customs officers got a surprise when they uncovered 160 King Cobras and more than 800 turtles hidden beneath a lorryload of garlic Click photo to enlarge © Mark Auliya / TRAFFIC Southeast Asia Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 1 May—Customs officers have sniffed out an attempt to smuggle over 814 turtles and 160 king cobras hidden behind 2.3 tonnes of garlic to mask its smell.

The lorry carrying the protected wildlife was stopped at Padang Besar in the northern state of Perlis last week, just before it crossed the Malaysian border to Thailand.

When officers checked the vehicle, they were greeted by a strong stench that led them to check the back of the lorry, Perlis Customs Director Md Isa Endut told press.

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Clouded and Dumeril’s Monitor Lizards seized in Malaysia

Clouded Monitor Lizard. Click photo to enlarge © Mark Auliya/TRAFFIC Southeast Asia Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 17 April 2009 - Wildlife and National Parks department officers chased down and stopped a lorry carrying 1,202 clouded monitor lizards along a highway in the state of Pahang, Malaysia on Wednesday.

The officers from Pahang, joined by their counterparts from the department’s Wildlife Crime Unit in Kuala Lumpur, gave chase when a five-tonne lorry they flagged down near a rubber estate, refused to stop. The officers discovered the live lizards tied in bags and stacked at the back of the lorry. Initial investigations revealed the lorry driver and two assistants had come from the southern state of Johor to buy the lizards from indigenous people who caught them in areas along the east coast of Peninsula Malaysia.

The clouded monitor lizard which is totally protected under Malaysian law is in high demand for its meat.

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Illegal trade devastates Sumatran orang-utan population

A Sumatran orang-utan confiscated in Aceh stares through the bars of its cage Click photo to enlarge © Chris R. Shepherd/TRAFFIC Southeast Asia  Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – Lack of law enforcement against illegal trade in Indonesia threatens the survival of orang-utans and gibbons on Sumatra, a new study by the wildlife trade monitoring network TRAFFIC shows.

Despite considerable investment in wildlife conservation, numbers of the critically endangered orang-utans captured mainly for the pet trade exceeded the levels of the 1970s. A lack of adequate law enforcement is to blame, TRAFFIC says.

Records of orang-utans and gibbons put into rehabilitation centers serves as an indicator of how many of these animals were illegally held. Meanwhile numbers continue to decline in the wild, with the most recent estimate of just 7,300 Sumatran Orangutans surviving.

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ASEAN Countries Make Major Progress on Wildlife, Habitat Conservation

James Compton & Samir Sinha - TRAFFIC, presenting "What's Driving the Wildlife Trade?" study at International workshop in Pattaya. Click photo to enlargePattaya, Thailand, April 14, 2009 – In a major step forward, the ASEAN-Wildlife Enforcement Network (ASEAN-WEN) conference concluded on April 12 with strong commitments by Asian governments and international partners to coordinate enforcement efforts in a concerted effort to halt wildlife crime and habitat depletion.

The agreement came at a meeting, “A Forgotten Crisis: Arresting Wildlife Depletion through Strengthened Partnerships and Regional  Cooperation,” that was held April 10-12 in Pattaya, Thailand.

ASEAN-WEN is the region’s largest environmental law-enforcement network. It links scores of environmental agencies, police organizations, customs bureaus and members of the judiciary from all 10 ASEAN member countries to share intelligence, conduct investigations, and train officers to combat wildlife trafficking and implement international and national laws regulating wildlife trade.

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Amur Leopard skin seized by Russian Police

The Amur Leopard skin seized by Russian police in Primorsky province; no more than 20 adult Amur Leopards are believed to exist, and this individual had apprently been shot. Click photo to enlarge © S. Aramilev / WWF Russia   Moscow, Russia, 7 April 2009—Police officers inspecting a car in Primorsky province in the Russian Far East have discovered the skin of an Amur Leopard, one of the world’s rarest animals.

Only an estimated 14 to 20 adult Amur Leopards and 5 or 6 cubs survive in an area of just 2,500 km² in Russia’s south-western Primorye region according to the IUCN Redlist. The subspecies is extinct in China and the Korean Peninsula.

The skin’s identity was confirmed by experts from the Institute of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Medicine of the Primorsky State Agricultural Academy, experts from Primorsky province Hunting Department and WWF Russia.

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Kan EL-Roy Johnson (1966–2009)

Kan EL-Roy Johnson (1966–2009)  Click photo to enlarge   en Français

Douala, Cameroon, 6 April 2009—With the death of Kan El-Roy Johnson in March this year in Cameroon, TRAFFIC lost a valued colleague, whose time with us was all too brief.

Kan joined TRAFFIC in November 2008, and in the short time he was with us, had an enormous influence on TRAFFIC’s communications in the Central African region. For the first time, TRAFFIC was enabled to reach out to Francophone Africa from within the continent, particularly in Kan’s native Cameroon.

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